Sunday, July 26, 2009

I See... A Geek Without a Cause

Last week I was slumming in an Elder's Quorum lesson, and afterwards some of us were hanging out in the lobby engaged in a typical deep and enriching doctrinal discussion on a topic of unique importance... what it means to be a geek. It was common knowledge among anyone who had been a member of our ward for awhile that more than 30 years ago I had achieved geekdom early on in my high school career. Hence, when the topic of conversation turned to geeks, they started peppering me with questions- I was the expert. It went something like this:

“So, Bro. Tait, were you one of the math geeks? Did you sport a pocket protector for all your math pencils?”


A young father piped in, simultaneously wrestling with a two-year old terror to prevent her from unleashing a blood-curdling scream powerful enough to shatter lobby windows. “I bet you were one of those drama geeks! You probably walked around talking with your hands, right?”


One last try from another young man. “What about the band geeks? Were you one of them? Did you lug around a heavy instrument case and a mess of crumpled sheet music?”

“Definitely not. The only instrument I play is the harmonica.”

This exchange earned a chorus of momentarily synchronized puzzled looks from the rest of the brethren. The lobby was then flooded with refugees trickling out of Releif Society and the discussion naturally broke apart, but I was left the challenge of interpreting the quest of their queries. If I was a geek in high school, but I wasn't math, drama, or band geek, what was I?

Then the terrible realization dawned on me, kind of like that same sickening feeling when you figure out that you may have graduated from college with a degree that prepares you to do nothing at all: 30+ years ago, had high school been a total waste of time? Had I been... a geek with without a cause?

Is there anything worse than a geek without purpose or meaning? A geek being a geek just for the heck of it? Apparently, I was merely a geek floating through my high school years. I think they call those people... nerds.

This discovery disturbed me greatly until I had more time to reflect on my distant past a little bit later on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I remembered how much I enjoyed early morning seminary and stake-sponsored scripture chase competitions. The year I was shooting for 100% early morning seminary attendance, dragged myself into class one morning from an all-night bone-setting session in the emergency room. I remembered the pretty girl in our ward calling me up for assistance in answering anti-Mormon questions she was fielding from from a born-again Christian co-worker at Baskin-Robbins. I was the guy who walked around school with a Book of Mormon in my backpack and scripture chase cards in my shirt pocket.

I felt better when I convinced myself that I had been a gospel geek. Gospel geeks are O.K., aren't they?

1 comment:

  1. Gospel geeks are the best! Glad I married one.